Regional Corridor Update
Regional Corridor Update
Compiled by Jason Dehart and Maria Mallory White
SPOTLIGHT Federal Judges Lift Airport Stay
Federal appellate judges in New York have decided to let construction proceed, but an environmental group says a lawsuit pertaining to the new Panama City-Bay County International Airport isn’t over.
“They lifted the stay, but it’s not over until there is a final ruling,” says National Resources Defense Council spokeswoman Julia Bovey.
Hoping to stop construction on a 4,000-acre tract of land near the 40,000-acre West Bay Preservation Area, the NRDC filed suit against the Federal Aviation Administration in November 2006. The environmental watchdog is challenging the FAA’s Record of Decision, or ROD, to begin the new airport’s construction.
The NRDC was granted a stay on Nov. 30, 2007. The court’s decision was modified a short time later to allow limited site work and was lifted completely following a Jan. 23 hearing.
Bovey says the court didn’t specifically explain why it lifted the stay, but Panama City-Bay County International Airport Executive Director Randy Curtis contends the court simply saw the merits of the FAA’s case.
As of press time the NRDC’s original lawsuit had not been resolved.
“We have to remain hopeful because we care so much about this area and what it means not only to the people who live there but for all America to have one last unspoiled estuary.
It’s very, very valuable,” Bovey says.
Meanwhile, Curtis says the lifting of the stay was a positive development for supporters of the new airport.
“If there had been issues with the FAA’s ROD … the court would not have lifted the stay,” he said. “Based on the order that came out (of the Jan. 23 hearing), it’s pretty evident the court is going to rule in our favor.”
The latest developments happened in February, when a federal judge in Jacksonville handed down another ruling in favor of the FAA, the Airport Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers. New airport opponents had sought to suspend a special permit required by the Army. But U.S. District Court Judge Timothy J. Corrigan denied the request, allowing unrestricted construction to proceed.
“This court decision is the most significant yet,” says St. Joe Company Peter S. Rummell, chairman and CEO of, which donated the 4,000-acre site. “The opportunities for opponents to stop construction are rapidly dwindling.”
DeVoe Moore Opens New Car Garage in Tallahassee
Businessman DeVoe Moore has the biggest garage in T-town. There’s no denying that Moore’s massive automobile collection is pretty awesome – after all, he owns not one, but three Batmobiles.
The 95,000-square-foot Tallahassee Automobile Museum houses the finest collection of antique and historic autos in the Southeast, from the 1894 Duryea on up to the 2001 Plymouth Prowler. In addition to the museum, the site offers 20,000 square feet of banquet and meeting space.
The new museum is located at U.S. Highway 90 and Interstate 10.
“We’re going to pull in a lot of people who are traveling across the state,” says Alex Sink, Florida’s chief financial officer and one of the many dignitaries on hand to celebrate the opening.
“The Tallahassee Convention and Visitor’s Bureau is not only excited about the appeal the new museum has to visitors, but also the draw the new meeting space has to entice more groups to come to the Capital City,” says Sharon Liggett, president and CEO of the visitor’s bureau.
‘Dumb’ Meters Out, ‘Green’ In
In an effort to reduce costs, Tallahassee leaders at City Hall have inked a $14.9-million contract with Honeywell to install a “smart” metering system that will allow the city to automatically collect electricity, natural gas and water usage data from residents and local businesses.
The new system will include more than 220,000 electric, gas and water meters, reduce city costs by an estimated $21 million during the next 15 years.
The New Brand of the Good Life
Business and community leaders across Bay, Walton, Okaloosa and Gulf counties have teamed up to launch Coastal Vision 3000. Their mission: To lure better airline service and national awareness with a “regional branded identity.”
“Coastal Vision 3000 is an unprecedented effort to bring together business leaders from Northwest Florida coastal counties to grow our market to everyone’s benefit,” said Davage “Buddy” Runnels, chairman of Coastal Vision 3000.
The new “halo” brand, “The Beach,” was unveiled with a Web site, thebeachfla.com, and with the tagline: “A Way of Life That Will Change Yours.”